Category Archives: Gear

Don’t Buy New Skis

buy new skis

You ski two weeks a season, if that; you hear about the latest all mountain frontside, backside, sidecountry, fat, fill-in-the-blank technology, see the gear guide picks in those special “Buyer’s Guide” editions of every ski magazine this month and, whammo, you’re begging for a new set of sticks. Don’t buy new skis!

The pair you bought last year hasn’t even rusted yet. Do you seriously have to have the 2019 model? Whooo boy would the car industry turn around if they could figure out what skiers are drinking and bottle it for themselves. Maybe it’s time to sit tight, get creative and save yourself a grand. Who really needs new skis every year?

Ok, so maybe you do want to spruce up the quiver. Here are a few ways to do it on a budget.

Ski Swaps

“New to you” is almost the same as “new” if you do your research. Buy new skis in the fall at annual ski swaps or in the spring. Resort retail shops have to blow out their inventory to make room for the latest stock. Last season’s models -often still in the plastic- are going to be just as good as this year’s and half the price. You can find deals of more than 70 percent off brand new 2017/18 skis. I bought a pair of 2017 Rossignol Experience 88’s from Level Nine in Salt Lake City for $250. The only difference between that year and 2016 was the graphics. 



Demo skis (high performance ski rentals) can be an even better score. They are part of every local ski shop’s inventory, are usually well-cared for by the ski techs but are no good to the merchant after the season ends. Sure, those universally adjustable demo bindings are clunkier than regular bindings but you can walk away with a decent pair of skis for under $200. Look closely at the bases to make sure you’re not buying beaters but to get skis and bindings for that price is epic. Bring your smartphone along for the ride so you can Google to make sure you’ve got the best price.

If you hit local events like the Black Diamond Swap (held in October) in Salt Lake City, Utah, you could buy new skis that belonged to one of your freeskiing idols like Julian Carr or Angel Collinson. Skilebrities in places like Whistler, Squaw, Alta, Jackson make their living, hocking their swag. Bonus. New this year, is the Locals Pro Sale in Park City and SLC in the fall.


Getting skis on Facebook Marketplace is cheaper than eBay and safer than Craigslist. Not only can you taste, touch, stroke before buying but they are a real person with a profile who’s unlikely to scam you. If you don’t mind buying them unseen, look at listings for cities nearest to ski destinations and ask the seller if he’ll ship. Just take a look at what’s on Craigslist SLC right now. eBay tends to be more expensive but you’ve got built-in fraud protection.

If you’re a gambler, wait until your next ski trip and buy new skis when you get there. Depending on how well you plan, not only will you save on baggage fees, hassles, and rentals but you could potentially MAKE MONEY in the deal if you sell them after your trip.


If your skis are older than five seasons and you only ski one week a year, your choice is a no-brainer. Throw them out or nail them to your wall as art and rent skis when you hit your destination. What you get from the shop is going to perform better than what you own and you’ll save a bundle. I don’t care what the magazines tell you – and by the way those “test” pages are supported by advertising from guess who? Ski manufacturers. Buying a new pair of skis before a trip based on something you read is a dumb move. Maybe those Rossi Soul 7s are perfect for your ability, height, weight, etc. Maybe. Or maybe you finally get them on the hill and can’t buy a turn. Oh, and, while we’re on it, let’s add up the cost of bringing your own skis on vacation after you buy them. Here’s the math: On Delta, skis and boots count as one bag and they charge $25 for the first bag. The second bag which would carry everything else is $35 and anything over 50 pounds is $90-175. Consider whether you can you pack the ski bag to the hilt and stay under 50 pounds. If not, checking skis separately from your luggage would cost at least $60. EACH WAY. There’s also the $175 “oversize bag fee” for going over 200cm. If the airline loses your gear not only would you have to pay the checked baggage fees but you would have to rent anyway while you waited for them to (hopefully) arrive. 

So here’s a novel idea- Pack (and check) one bag ($25) and rent. The total would run you about $185pp and save you the hassle of lugging heavy, awkwardly shaped bags around the airport. Plus, you escape the whines of small children unwilling to carry their own stuff. Sites like will even come to your hotel with a four-day sport package of skis, poles and boots for about $250 with the damage waiver; it’s not cheap but you won’t have to waste time in a check out line or worry about whether you brought the “right” skis for the “right” conditions.

Ship Your Own

Still wanting to bring your own gear? You could ship everything to your vacation destination. By U.S. Post (seven days) it’s about $34 without insurance, or by FedEx Ground (5 days) you’re at $39. Companies like will even pick up and package your skis for you before they ship them but you’ll pay about $250+ for roundtrip service for two pairs of skis. Problem here is that you have to plan ahead. Procrastinators will be SOL. What if you wanted to ski at home the day before you left? Forget it.  

Don’t Buy New Skis, Use What You’ve Got

Unless you live in a ski town and arc 40 plus days a season, new skis on your feet won’t make a difference. Get a sweet tune from a local shop and call it good. One note: test your bindings. No need for a trip to the ER when a simple check from your local ski tech can make sure they’re working properly.

Buy a New Pair

I’d be a liar and a hypocrite if I didn’t disclose that my single most guilty pleasure in life- aside from pedicures- is the fall day my new skis arrive. Last year, I bought a brand new pair of Elan Ripsticks from a gal on Facebook. Hated them. Sold them this fall for $100 more. Over Christmas, I spotted the 2018 Nordica Santa Ana 100s for $300 brand new on a one-day sale. Same as this year’s but different graphics. I LOVE THEM!!!
My car is five years old, some of my street clothes are 20. But not my skis. If they’re older than two or three years, I feel self-conscious. I’m a ski instructor, ski model and ski writer. You gotta walk the talk. Or better ski the ski. What’s your excuse?


Hold Up Those Pants Up With Arcade Belts

Arcade Belts

Pull your damn pants up, is a frequent thought when I’m standing in a lift line. It’s not like these kids with pants at mid-thigh don’t have belts on. But maybe they’re missing the right belt; one that doesn’t feel like a belt perhaps?

I spotted Arcade Belts in the Venture Out area during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show in July.  The lightweight, stretchy belt with a thin Fastec clip easily adjusts and lays flat on your waist- no bulky buckles, no flapping excess. You can drop it in the wash- still attached to your pants or boardshorts- without damage or wear it through TSA without setting off the alarms. Plus, it comes in fun designs and a youth version for smaller-wasted ones.

Santa Cruz skater and Tahoe Pro Skier Cody Townsend started Arcade Belts with buddies David Bronkie and Tristan Queen to cinch up a tiny space in the adventure sports clothing market. They created a belt tough enough for action sports but comfy enough for everyday wear. “Action sports in general are becoming a lifestyle and we’re designing stuff for that culture,” said Townsend in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “I wanted something that fits in with that unique style. You might think it’s simple but you’ll have an ‘Ah ha’ moment, and ask why haven’t I been using this belt.”

It’s been six years since they first hit the market. Arcade Belts come in just three styles, sold in over 800 retail stores. I personally like the adventure belt in Trailblazer, with the cute little pine trees, but have a look at some of their other designs.

Park City Bans Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags

Visitors to Park City, Utah, will have a rude awakening when they attempt to shop next season. No more plastic bags within city limits.

In a historic move, the Park City Council voted this week to ban the disposable parcels used to haul various sundries from market to condo. The new law limits itself to stores over 12,000 square feet and that sell groceries. However, it marks an action on something locals have been bitching about for years and hope will spread throughout the area.

It’s the first ban in the state but not the first to move through a ski resort town where green initiatives often test the political waters. Plastic is already banned in Aspen, Telluride and Vail, Colo. and California resorts. Others charge a fee for plastic in the hopes of discouraging lazy heathens.

Who’s Affected by the Plastic Bag Ban

The Market at Park City, Fresh Market and Rite Aid will swap plastic for paper starting in late June. Store owners are expecting shock and amazement during the coming ski season where bag distribution hikes to about 15,000 in a month and visitors use them for not only carrying groceries, but picking up poop, lining trashcans and parceling out wet clothes. Paper bags ain’t as versatile or durable. They’ll also cost you. The stores affected, plan to pass the expense to you in a “tax”. Expect to pay about .08 cents more if you don’t have your own bag on hand. But don’t worry, you wasteful consumers, you. Just a few miles north, Wal-Mart, Smith’s and Fresh Market have no qualms with sending you home with polyethylene. The ban is specific to Park City; not Summit County as a whole.

Parkites argued successfully that plastic bags increase litter and wreak havoc on our landfills. Oh, how the pendulum swings. Thirty-five years ago environmentalists rallied to replace paper with plastic to save trees, and stores saved time and money. It was much faster at checkout to dump items in plastic. Plus, they had HANDLES.

Today, most European countries ban plastic bags, along with the whole state of California. The state of Utah could conceivably override Park City’s ban and given the way they do things around here, who knows? For now, plan on packing your tote on your next vacation. You’re already spending a small fortune on everything else. No need to add to the bill.

Great Alternatives To Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags

Chico Mini-

Don’t get caught without a bag. This handy tote clips to your keychain. It’s on the small side (duh) but sturdy enough to carry a bowling ball.

Plastic Bags

Ikea 172.283.40 Frakta Shopping Bag

Man, are these things ugly and cumbersome but if you are a monthly (rather than weekly) shopper or you’re buying for a family of five you’re going to need something this size.

Valentines For The Adventure Chick

valentine's day

My boyfriend announced yesterday that we won’t be celebrating Valentines Day. Uh, not an option. It’s not like he comes home every day with flowers and a bottle wine. He’s a great guy who represents quite well but sometimes a girl likes a little extra. And, so, we have a national holiday that boosts retail sales and our feminine egos. The women of the world deserve a day of love and sweetness even if it has to be forced upon the male populace.

The problem is that most people hate mandated gifting days because all of a sudden they have to buy the perfect gift. Being an outdoorsy partner can also present its obstacles. Flowers and chocolates? Nice, but unoriginal and zero energy. If you dig a little deeper, however; nothing terribly traumatizing like open heart surgery, you can find some tender, little, “I love you!” trinkets, that get the message across the way we would want.

P.S. Guys, DO NOT give your gal workout wear for VDay. No matter how great (or expensive) those shorts or yoga pants are, you might as well have handed her a card that says, “You’re looking a little fat. Please exercise more.” On the flipside, however, we  wouldn’t complain about a PrAna or Athleta giftcard.

Get out of the doghouse:


Phunkshun Wear infinity scarves and neckgaiters– Keep her warm, dry and still fashionable with these uber awesomely designed “neck tubes” from Colorado. The thermal tube with Polartec on the inside is water repellant and freeze resistant on the outside. Bonus: a portion of the sales go to the High Fives Foundation. $19-29.


Bodipure Keratin Hand and Foot Gloves– If a spa giftcard feels impersonal, fix up a little basket of these combo moisturizing glove packets for a stay-at-home mani/pedi. The waterless, self-activating keratin treatment will pamper and bring life back to dry, winter-damaged hands and feet. $9.95 for a pair of each.

valentines valentines

Maria Shireen Hair Tie Bracelet– You ever notice those indents in her wrists from hair ties? Give her something that’s both stylish and functional with these gorgeous bangles. The unique design cleverly hides the band and creates a fun fashion accessory. $35-120



Il Morso coffee chocolates– Energetic chicks love caffeine and they love chocolate. A gift of these little artisan tabs loaded with up to 18 mg of caffeine mix romance with fun. She’ll remember you every time she pulls one from her pocket for on-the-go pep. $60 for 40/ct.



Cairn Subscription Box– Make it a surprise for both of you if you aren’t sure what to get for your adventurous other. The company delivers outdoorsy type products – anything from socks to lanterns for a flat $25 per month. You never know what’s inside from month to month. Go for a three to 12-month subscription for the gift that keeps on giving.



Barefoot Eco Outfitters Red Moose Jogger Pants– While it’s unseemly to present exercise gear on Valentine’s Day, there’s nothing wrong with loungewear. But be careful. If you gift these unisex pants made of soft Eco Tri-blend fleece, organic cotton and rayon, you may never get her out of them. Well, at least they are more form-fitting than most sweatpants. $45




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